The Grizzlies’ offseason kicked off with a rather unsettling whirlwind of upheaval with the dismissal of Jason Levien and Stu Lash. Then threat of the incumbent head coach’s flight to Minnesota, the subsequent silence at the top of the ladder, and the ultimately unorthodox manner of vocalizing resolution and harmony all contributed to an overarching hysteria that swept the “recently reeling from a Game 7 loss” fan base off its feet.
Since then, however, it appears we have been riding it out in the eye of the tornado as far as the all things Grizzlies are concerned. Speculation, as always, has reigned supreme in a number of ways — and for all we know there could be plenty bubbling inside the organization — but in terms of actual news and drama, all has remained pretty tranquil on the surface. While I love a good armchair GM session just as much as the next guy, without the next-level intel of some of the more connected folk on my side, I’ll keep it simple and stick to the basics in this post. Don’t get too comfortable, though, because there are bound to be a fair share of turbulent winds up ahead.
First, let’s take a look at what is going on at the moment:
- Draft Workouts. Coach Joerger and co. have worked out a number of prospects, thus far, as shown in the table below. Workout number 6 will take place this afternoon, and according to Chris Wallace on the Chris Vernon show, another workout is set to take place on Sunday, but he’s playing it close to his chest until the PR team releases the participants. Quick video recaps of the workouts can be viewed on the Grizzlies’ official page.
- Also draft related, the Grizzlies exercised the right to buy back their 2015 second round pick, which was initially dealt as part of a Javaris Crittenton trade in 2008. Word on the street (read: in the previously linked article), is that it is “widely believed” the Grizzlies will look to get into the second round of this year’s draft. (Whoops, now I’m indulging speculation)
- Chris Wallace will remain at the helm as GM for the time being, and will have the “interim” tag revoked from his title. Word is that there will be an eventual hire of a “GM in-waiting” to be trained under Wallace’s tutelage.
- The currently suspended Nick Calathes is being wooed by European teams with a reportedly lucrative offer of 3 years $6.5 million. The initial offer was from Panathinaikos, and has been matched by CSKA Moscow. Coach Joerger, when questioned on the matter shot down the assertion by stating, “he’s under contract with us.”
- Marc Gasol is pretty happy in Memphis, which he refers to as his “home away from home.” Which is a comforting thought for us as he enters the final year of his contract.
All fine and dandy, but a stone’s throw down the road we have plenty of mayhem to sink our teeth into. If you haven’t yet done so, get these dates plugged into your calendar and be sure to have the popcorn ready:
- June 26: The NBA Draft. The first domino of offseason dominoes is less than a week from today. I guess I mean first in a chronological sense, but what the Grizzlies do in this draft could have several telltale implications of what is to transpire down the line. If the Grizzlies were to draft a wing, for example, it would spell a definite impending doom for one or more of the many representative of an already crowded wing rotation. For a team solely harvesting the #22 pick, a draft may not seem such a pivotal point, but if you recall, Kosta Koufos was acquired in a draft day deal last year; a move that in all honesty may have saved the season when Gasol went down. This should be fun, as always.
- June 30: The deadline for Zach Randolph to exercise his player option. There are a number of options on the table here for Zbo. He can opt into the final year of his deal at $16.9 million (semi-likely), or he can opt out and either sign an extension (also semi-likely), or walk altogether (not likely, but stranger things have happened). One thing is for sure — the response will be polarizing no matter which way this goes down.
- July 1: Let the games of free agency begin! Trade season should pick up right around this time for that matter, as well. To get your free agency juices flowing, note that Joerger did mention having lunch with veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair, who spent last season playing in China. Also of note, the salary cap and luxury tax levels are projected to go up by nearly $5 million a piece this season, potentially giving the Grizzlies some nice wiggle room to sign somebody with their Mid-Level Exception. The room gets especially cozy if a reduced annual rate is negotiated with Zbo.
- July 5-11: Orlando Summer League. In other words, the time for fans to get wild and excited about the guys who may possibly get a chance to serve as practice dummies for the Grizzlies’ big dogs at training camp… I kid. With the Iowa Energy on board as a legitimate affiliate going forward, this could be a fascinating look at how the braintrust plans on stocking that roster. If we’re lucky we might get a glimpse of some Jamaal Franklin action this go ’round. In addition, If the interesting Janis Timma (60th overall pick in 2013) manages to show he’s become better adapted to the American style of play, that would be gravy.
- December 12?: We can begin talking contract extensions with Marc Gasol. “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?” Alright, this one is a bit further down the road than I can toss a stone, but it’s an important mark no less. This is pivotal to the direction of the Grizzlies’ future, regardless of the outcome.
Stay tuned, #Grizznation!